Freya Falkenstein Singing with GuitarFreya, Chicago, IL

I've always thought of my guitar abilities as just "that thing I did to accompany my singing" and nothing more. As long as I could do the basic chords or just very basic picking styles, I was good! I was always nervous to try anything much more extravagant than that, and much too impatient!

Stu's patience and belief in my abilities has really helped me get past most of my former thoughts and fears about playing guitar. Thanks to Stu I'm playing in a way I never thought possible! He works with me to find the songs that inspire me and uses that as a way to teach me the harder things that I, on my own, would've been too frustrated to try and learn. Although I've taken some breaks here and there from lessons, he's always there for me when I come back from my long hiatuses with no judgment of the skills I might've lost on the way, but instead with the inspiration I need to get back on track.

Stu has helped me to become a better overall performer and on multiple occasions has helped me rediscover my love for playing the guitar. Thanks Stu! You ROCK!


Yvonne Pappas with UkuleleEvi, Ann Arbor, MI

All my life, resistance to the learning process of playing an instrument has been strong and emotional. Past experiences with teachers ended up with big disappointments, me bolting and closing important doors.  

Stu’s patient and open approach provided a safe place for me to work around and break down the barriers, while at the same time encouraging and gently nudging me to the next level. In addition, his materials and videos were a tremendous help for me as I practiced through the week on my own.  

After 3 months I find myself at a whole new level of playing, with more confidence in myself, playing with other musicians, even taking the lead at times. Technique has improved tremendously, strumming, and picking keep improving and best of all, I find myself having more fun then I ever imagined. 

I can’t thank Stu enough for his gift of teaching me how to play the ukulele and blowing open the doors to this joyful experience I am now having.


 

Heyden GrahamHeyden, Denver, CO

I had been playing guitar for about eighteen years when I met Stu. I had definitely plateaued, playing the same riffs and songs over and again. I had gotten comfortable with many of the building blocks and techniques of playing, but couldn’t figure out how to progress into greater levels of playing. And with two little kids, I couldn’t find the motivation to force myself to, either!

Stu definitely helped me “break on through to the other side." If you are going to improve in your playing, you need someone external to push you. Top athletes and performers have a coach; if they need one to improve, so do you!

Stu was very accessible and accommodating, meeting at convenient times. "Stu-tab" was actually easier to interpret than standard tab, and Stu’s videos helped a great deal both learning songs initially and then reviewing later. He taught me both songs that I requested, and also songs that he thought would take me out of my comfort zone. He has great range, too, across genres (blues, rock, folk, flamenco), techniques (pick, fingerstyle, slide), and artists.

Before, I couldn’t imagine performing in front of others. I’m now shopping for a Martin and scoping out open mics. Get playing with Stu!


 

Claire CarsonClaire, Marietta, GA

Mr. Stu teaches with a lot of flexibility. He asks what type of music I like and teaches me those songs, in addition to teaching me classics. He encourages me to play and sing with confidence and be better with crowds. On top of it all, he’s a super nice guy. I’ve recommended him to all my friends and neighbors who are interested in playing the uke. Claire, age 11, and student of Mr. Stu’s for 3 years.  


 

Mark and Ashton StewartMark and Ashton, Tampa, FL

Very early on I knew I was in good hands with Stu when I heard him tell me, "It's music man!" and "Hey, don't worry, I am your number one fan."

I started out, like many, trying to teach myself, then attempting to keep up with classes at a studio which was impossible as a working adult.

Fortunately, I found Stu. It has been just about a year already and I couldn't be happier with my progress and newly acquired friend. His lessons allow you to play sooner, yet they have skills imbedded in them that you will need to have for other songs and styles.

My 12 year old, Ashton, also started a couple months ago and really enjoys it. He readily admits he enjoys his practice and exceeding his dad's skills! There is nothing more important than the time we share making music together and our pal Stu makes that a reality.


 

Ed MillerEd, Kennesaw, GA

When I retired March 10, 2017, I was determined  to address some of the desires on my "bucket list."  I knew I wanted to pursue music again as well as take a Spanish course. Thirty years ago I bought a piano and began lessons. A year later we had our first of two daughters. Needless to say, by year one every time I tried to practice, she was there adding her contributions. So piano lessons went into deep hibernation.

My brother, who is 3 years older than me, started taking guitar lessons October 2016 at age 62.  So, I was like, heck I can learn a new instrument at age 59. I started researching guitars and instructors. I landed at Ken Stanton Music in Marietta. The first person recommended did not work out.  So, as it was meant to be, I was given Stu Zonder's name and contact information. He and I talked about lessons and possible time slots. In addition, Stu came in to help me make my selection of which guitar to buy. I started lessons on March 15th this year and really like his style of teaching. Stu tries to understand the genre of music you like and prepare lessons involving songs you are familiar with at the same time teaching chords, rhythms and playing techniques.

Never in my wildest dream did I think I would be doing a guitar recital at age 60. Well, lo and behold, he kept after me and this past September, I was one of 14 or 15 participants at the First Annual Stuza-Palooza held at his home, The Zonderosa. There I met his lovely wife, Janna. The two make a great team.

By the way, I took that Spanish course, at KSU April-June. I am batting 100% on the current bucket list.


 

Hilary GoroshHilary, Chicago, IL

Stu is a master teacher, and it has been an absolute joy taking lessons from him. I had never picked up a ukulele before, and within 2 weeks I was confidently playing and reading music. The way in which he delivers his lessons is remarkable: they are super easy to follow, smart, and engaging. I always look forward to my Skype lesson and Stu is very accommodating to my schedule. Thank you, Stu!  Keep strummin'!


  

Pam HelmsPam, Atlanta, GA

As a late in life newcomer to the ukulele, I have been studying with Stu for 2 years. Last week we both celebrated how very much better I am playing now than I was a year ago. With constant new songs, new chords and chord sequences, new rhythms, and new strums and picking, he has nudged, pushed and challenged me at just the right pace. And it is all done with constant “you can do this” encouragement. A lesson with Stu is full of laughs and camaraderie along with the music. I like him so very much both as a person and as a teacher, and I am grateful to be his student. And I also like his wife, Janna, a whole lot. They are a first rate team.


 

Harrison PollingerHarrison, Atlanta, GA

I am 44 years old and have always wanted to play guitar. I have been working with Stu for the past 6 months, and I am now playing better than I could have ever imagined.

I had no previous musical experience, and under Stu’s direction can now play pretty much any song that I want! Open chords, Barre chords, finger picking, arpeggios.....you name it!

Stu’s easy to learn teaching style and tablature make learning to play guitar easy and fun. I would recommend Stu to any of my family and friends. He is a kind, patient, and skilled person as well as an amazing guitar player!! I am proud to say he is not only my guitar instructor, but a true friend. I have enjoyed getting to know him and plan to continue my studies with him for years to come.


 

Neil GoroshNeil, West Bloomfield, MI

I have always been envious of my friends who could play musical instruments, particularIy stringed instruments. But I have now been taking Ukulele lessons via Skype from Stu Zonder for a little over a year now, and it is not an exaggeration to say that my life has been forever changed. In my own modest way, I have become a "player."

My repertoire continues to grow each lesson with a new song custom selected by Stu based on his understanding of my musical interests. Between lessons, I regularly consult the accompanying videos which he prepares for each song. The lessons themselves are thoroughly enjoyable. I continue to value and look forward to each and every one of them. I would have no problem recommending Stu Zonder to anyone interested in learning ukulele or guitar. In fact, I have already done so numerous times.


 

Lorene and Cooper ShawLorene, Cooper, and Mason, Marietta, GA

Looking for a ukulele or guitar instructor? My family refers to Stu Zonder as our “ukulele (and guitar!) instructor extraordinaire.” Over the years, my two sons and I have had the privilege of working with many different music instructors—Stu is most definitely amongst the very best. He has an amazingly effective teaching style and methodology that I can wholeheartedly recommend to students of all ages. AND he tailors lesson material to a student's interest.

Both his in-person AND online lessons are generally accompanied by a YouTube lesson that you can re-visit multiple times. This adds incredible value to your lessons…most instructors do not offer accompanying online instruction.

Lessons are available via Skype or in-person at Ken Stanton Music on Cobb Parkway, Marietta, GA.


 

Katie LloydKatie, Marietta, GA 

I have been taking lessons from Stu Zonder since April, and I have learned so much from him! He always picks the best songs to learn. He is the chillest dude I have ever met and that makes lessons really fun and relaxing. I enjoy it so much that I am now taking both ukulele and guitar lessons from Stu.


 

Owen JohnsonOwen, Marietta, GA

I got inspired to learn the ukulele after watching a rerun of the 1990 Tom Hanks movie "Joe Versus the Volcano." So, I went online and bought a ukulele, determined to teach myself how to play. How hard could it be, right? I had never played an instrument but I had YouTube. I found dozens of learn to play videos and gave it a shot. Boy was I wrong! Learning to play an instrument on your own is a daunting task. Not knowing where to start, how fast to progress, what am I doing wrong, how do I practice? I quickly got discouraged and put my uke away and almost forgot about it. Then I saw "Joe Versus the Volcano" again and it reenergized me. I decided I needed professional help. So, I did a quick web search of music teachers in my area and found Stu. Before we got started we discussed my music background (none), my goals, my musical tastes, and my schedule. We started our lessons one year ago and I couldn't be happier. Stu and I meet every two weeks on Skype for our lessons, in the comfort of our own homes. I now have a songbook full of the music that I can play. Stu's method is fun, convenient, and easy to learn. I would recommend Stu to anyone looking to learn to play the ukulele.


Bryan Menetre, Jr.Bryan, Marietta, GA

I have been taking ukulele lessons from Stu for almost 3 months now, and I have truly enjoyed each and every one. Stu is an awesome teacher! Exceptionally talented and very patient, Stu will find a way to teach you something new. You can even request to learn any song, and he will find a way to transpose it and teach it to you. He's a very genuine guy with a quirky sense of humor that is guaranteed to make you crack a smile. You won't find a more Stupendous teacher!


 

  

Scott Vincent Daniel VincentDaniel, Acworth, GA

Daniel started playing the piano about a year before the ukulele, to learn how to read music. During that time, we searched for a guitar teacher and found Stu Zonder, a true gift to music. Stu advised that we might want to start Daniel on the ukulele first, and we found that it was a great idea.

Daniel took to the ukulele like he was born with it in his hands! Stu and Daniel work together in a spiritual musical way, and there is almost nothing Daniel cannot do with Stu by his side. Daniel has now picked up the guitar as well, and Stu is coaching him on both instruments at the same time, with much success.

 I HIGHLY recommend Stu for any ukulele or guitar coaching needs, and I welcome any personal inquiries.

Scott (Daniel's Father)


 

Jason KleiberJason, Johns Creek, GA

I’ve been taking ukulele lessons with Stu Zonder for about three years now. When I began I was a school teacher and thought it might be interesting to take music lessons with some of my students. Having never played an instrument before, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. Well, I have a new hobby! I’ve found Stu to always be very accommodating and fun to learn from. He was undeterred by my inexperience and went to great effort to make me feel comfortable and relaxed. He helped me pick the right instrument and got me settled into class. Stu always makes class relaxed and enjoyable with his clever humor and witty jokes. He also makes sure we learn songs from every imaginable genre, which is unpredictable and always awesome. Stu is clearly a talented musician who enjoys teaching and playing the ukulele, which is infectious. I really enjoy learning to play the ukulele with Stu Zonder and would recommend that anyone, regardless of experience, give Stu and the Uke a try. I promise that you won’t be disappointed!


 

William Don ChapmanDon, Norfolk, VA

I started playing ukulele just over a year ago and luckily found a great instructor, Stu Zonder! He has guided me on this journey and motivates me to continually improve my playing. His recorded video of each song and technique taught in a lesson is extremely helpful to play back and refer to well after the lesson. I highly recommend him.Thanks Stu!


 

 

 

Sherry LovettSherry, Little Switzerland, NC

Stu Zonder is a gentle and encouraging teacher! He made me feel at ease right away, and his particular method of teaching makes it easy to learn to play. In fact, he had me playing  several songs right away; it was amazing! I look forward to our lessons, and I am excited about my growing proficiency thanks to Stu!


 

 

Frank and Isaac LeveyFrank, Ann Arbor, MI

About 6 months ago, my 9 year old son Isaac had his first ukulele lesson with Stu Zonder over Skype, and I took the opportunity to sit on the side and observe the lesson.  During that first week, I found myself picking up the ukulele almost as often as my son was and I realized...I was hooked! I ran out and bought an instrument for myself and now we each take lessons from Stu (I still sit in on all of my sons lessons and take my own privately)

Stu's teaching style is relaxed and playful. He clearly has a command of the instrument and instills such confidence in both of our abilities that we have really soared in this short period of time. The sheet music that he sends us, as well as the video he prepares truly work wonders as teaching tools; anything that we may have forgotten during the lesson can easily be revisited during the week.

While my preference of songs leans towards the old standard classics, from Cole Porter to the Beatles, my son prefers rocking to Deep Purple and The Who. Though I gladly play whatever song Stu suggests for me, Isaac often makes requests and, by the next lesson, his favorite song is usually there for him to learn. ( I might add that Isaac also takes piano lessons though he clearly prefers playing his uke, as the songs can be easily learned and mastered).

I have never played an instrument before and am really delighted how quickly I have grown with this one. Isaac and I have a lot of fun playing together, taking turns picking and strumming, also harmonizing as we sing along. In an age where families are so busy and togetherness time is limited, we are delighted to have this experience, one that we look forward to each week!

Stu is a gifted teacher, a warm and bright man, and I would, and do, highly recommend his services to anyone who would like to discover the joy of this classic instrument.


 

Naomi JagielloNaomi, Barcelona, Spain

I started guitar lessons with Stu as an ABSOLUTE beginner, I didn't even know how to hold the guitar properly!  I can't read music which concerned me too, but I quickly learned Stu's easy number system for playing and we were off!  After one class, I could play three chords and make out the tune of my first ever song.  All of that via Skype!  I love the convenience of the Skype lessons, I live in Barcelona, Spain, so getting to Stu's to have a class would prove a little time consuming!  You can see and hear everything via Skype, it certainly isn't necessary to have lessons in person if you are not able to do so.  

Stu is an excellent, patient teacher who explains and demonstrates what to do clearly, and his classes are FUN! What I like most is that we always play songs (one's I know and love) and learn that way, rather than just repeating single notes, chords or scales over and over.  I've been studying with Stu for around 18 months now and can definitely say I can play the guitar!!  Coming from no musical background what so ever I am really happy with how far I have come! Thank you Stu! 


 

 Michael ZonderMike, West Bloomfield, MI

Stu, I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I appreciate your talent and patience in helping me to learn to make music on my guitars. You have a unique talent in recognizing the music that interests me, supplying the music in understandable form, and gently prodding and encouraging me over these last many months. I can say that anyone with an interest in playing the guitar could surely and confidently place their trust in working with you. You friend and grateful student, Mike.


 

 

 

David DavisDavid, Ridgefield, CT

I have been playing guitar for many years, but like so many other guitarists I meet, my playing felt stale and uninspired. Music is incredibly important to me and expressing myself through guitar has brought great joy and frustration through the years.

And along came Stu! I have studied on and off with Stu for a while, but with greater focus over the past year. I have studied with excellent guitarists before, but rare is the great guitarist who is also a great teacher. He teaches with patience, passion, and it is always fun, as music should be.

After being at it for this long, Stu has infused my playing with renewed enthusiasm, and it is very exciting to be growing again as a musician.

I have seen him with beginners and advanced students alike, and he seamlessly adapts his style to our level of ability to make the process work so well. And perhaps the best part of my lessons is that I get to sit in my home, relaxed in front of the computer for an hour that goes by way to quickly!


 

Marshall ReissmanMarshall, St. Petersburg, FL

I've worked with Stu for nearly a year. He is an amazing six-string guru on many levels. Stu genuinely and intently listens to and observes my playing, focuses on my weaknesses and strengths, and goes the extra mile to help me improve. Before each lesson, I get an e-mail with a video and song/exercise charts in easy-to-understand "Stulature" of the material we're going to cover. He has an encyclopedic knowledge and recall of a gazillion songs and tons of "riffery" covering many styles and genres. Bottom line: my playing has vastly improved and I've had a blast in the process!


 

Gaaby PattersonHannah, Missoula, MT

Our daughter's ukulele lessons with Stu Zonder have been a very personal experience. Stu makes a concerted effort to teach Hannah songs that a nine-year-old girl wants to learn. While all of this is wonderful for Hannah's musical education, there is a greater connection on a personal level. Stu cheers Hannah on, makes her laugh, asks about her life. It is important to us as parents that the adults Hannah has in her life are stable, encouraging, loving, and sound people who will hold Hannah to her highest. Stu Zonder has consistently displayed all of these qualities.

Hannah's Parents, Gaaby and Dan.


 

Walter SchramWalter, West Bloomfield Township, MI 

Stu and I have been friends since the 9th grade (wow, over 40 years), and I remember being fascinated and inspired when he pulled out his guitar in his childhood bedroom and played and sang for me. As a child, I had dabbled with an uninspiring teacher who came to my house and was immediately disinterested the minute he realized I had zero natural ability. In my college years at Ann Arbor, Stu and I hung out a lot and he convinced me to pick up the guitar again. In those days Stu painstakingly fed and forced me to play all of my favorite tunes from beginning to end until I had built quite a repertoire of Crosby Stills and Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, etc. Due to Stu's tutelage, extreme patience, support, encouragement and persistence over 40 years, I am actually able to fool people into thinking I can play and sing rather well. To this day, when Stu comes back to Detroit and visits, he still finds time to sit and patiently go over new strumming or fingering techniques used in songs he knows I enjoy and learns specifically for me. I am always amazed at not only how much passion Stu still has for playing his own music, but for how much passion and pleasure he still gets from teaching others regardless of their skill level. I am Stu's poster child for taking a tone deaf, fumble fingered, music lover and enhancing his life through guitar. Thank you Stu. I so appreciate our time playing together. With love, Walter.  


Julie AustinLyn, Southfield, MI

I highly recommend Stu Zonder as a teacher. He has a gift. He is VERY talented, and makes learning fun and interesting with his ability to intuit how an individual learns. His ability to teach is far reaching. I love that he is showing folks who never thought that they could play an instrument a way into the wonderful world of music - through ukulele!


 

 

Dr. Steven SaulSteven, Sandy Springs, GA

Stu Zonder is an amazing guitar teacher. He has an almost magical ability to teach you a song and have it sound better than you ever thought possible. I highly recommend him as a guitar teacher and performance coach.


 

 

Jeff ZeldesJeff, Novi, MI

I was a frustrated, self-taught guitar player, constantly quitting due to lack of progress. I started taking lessons from Stu two years ago to get over that hurdle and get on my way to becoming an accomplished guitar player. I look forward to each lesson, the frustration is gone, and I feel like I am on my way. I highly recommend Stu to anyone looking to better themselves and have fun in the process.

  


 

Robert JudyRobert, Winder, GA

Stu's teaching method is systematic but not cookie-cutter. He first finds out what musical experience, if any, you have, what you want to accomplish, what style or styles of music you want to learn, then structures lessons to teach you how to play using those styles of music. Stu has helped me become a better ukulele player by making the lessons interesting, designing lessons that progressively build one on another, yet are challenging. Since this is the first time I've played a stringed instrument and tried to sing at the same time, Stu has been good in counseling patience, helping me set realistic expectations of my progress, and encouraging me to learn and play better.


 

Joshua SaulJosh, Chamblee, GA

I used to sit around and jealously watch my family play guitar with everyone. Despite having purchased a guitar and taken a few lessons, I wasn't getting far in a hurry. I couldn't play many songs and most lessons I took off Craigslist ended up being a demonstration of how great the teacher was at guitar! Then, Stu offered to teach me a few things - starting with songs I actually wanted to learn! In no time, my family was inviting me to jam. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find that person who is not only skilled, but also a fantastic teacher. Even when I was a thousand miles away, we were still able to have lessons via Skype and make significant progress. I look forward to my lessons every time! Thanks Stu.


Dr. Greg TalleyGreg, Tucker, GA

My experience with Stu Zonder has been fantastic, and I highly recommend you give him a try!! His teaching methods allow immediate application of the lesson and you are suddenly"playing music." As a performing musician himself, I feel he really understands what I'm trying to achieve. I have taken private lessons and the Professional Edge Workshops with Stu and was very impressed with the presentation, but also the materials he provided that made subsequent practice a clear review of what was being taught. Stu makes music that I thought was complicated, quite simple by breaking it down into understandable action steps that make me sound good! He also provided more for my singing performance in one lesson than I could have imagined. I have found from past experience that it's all about having the right teacher/coach. Stu is that guy! Thanks again man!


 

Ron BoydRon, Gibson, PA

I bought my first guitar in 1973. It was a used EKO acoustic with a dark red finish. With a Mel Bay music book and six note pitch pipe, I spent most of my first year trying to get in tune. Back then, there were no instructional videos or YouTube tutorials to turn to for help. If you were lucky, you met someone who knew a song you liked and you learned it from them.

Stu Zonder was playing for the afternoon crowd in Mr. Flood's Party Bar the day I met him. I was under age, but my older brother had bought a pitcher of beer so I was able to sneak a few brews as we listened to Stu's set. Stu was fabulous! Not only did he have a wonderful voice but he was a masterful finger picker as well. At the time, Bob Dylan was my musical hero as his lyrics and melodies were constructed around the three or four basic cords that I had managed to learn. Stu knew Dylan's work as well, but he knew it the way it was really meant to be played, with all the riffs and nuances that made the tunes really shine.

So, I kept calling out requests and Stu kept playing them. When his set was over, we invited him over to out table to thank him. As we shook hands he gave me that big grin of his and said, "Hey, I should be thanking you... its like you had my song list memorized... incredible!"

Stu went on to teach me a bunch of the songs he had played that afternoon. He recorded many of the songs on cassette tape detailing how the different parts were performed. He made the tunes easy to understand while incorporating proper technique in his simple, tasteful guitar arrangements.

Forty years later, I now play some pretty fine guitar myself. I can't thank Stu Zonder enough for the start he gave me on the wonderful adventure music has been in my life!! Check him out. I'm sure he can do the same for you!